By-laws are the set of rules under which the organisation will operate.

They typically include such items as (a) number of members, term length, nomination process, committees, and meetings; (b) fiscal year/accounting cycles, committees, and officers’ responsibilities; (c) methodologies, tools, and strategies, monitoring and evaluation etc.; and (d) how to amend the by-laws themselves.

Typical by-laws of a non-profit organisation will contain the following information:

  • Preamble
  • Organisation name and acronym
  • Organisational logo
  • Basic aim and purpose of organization
  • Mission statement
  • Functions
  • Membership (types, conditions/qualifications of members, status,¬† procedure to become members, rights and obligations, termination)
  • Advisory board (role and functions, qualifications of board members, authority, elections, members)
  • Organisational structure
  • Asset management (Finance and property, membership fees)
  • Legal status
  • Contact address
  • Dissolution of the organisation
  • Amendments, modifications, revisions of by-laws

Examples of governance documents:

By-laws are not public documents, but making them readily available increases your accountability and transparency and encourages your board to pay closer attention to them. Your board should review them regularly and amend them as your organization evolves.

Examples of Statutes and/or By-Laws of European Patient Federations:


OIFE By-laws
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What are by laws
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What are by laws
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What are by laws
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What are by laws
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